Friends of The House Ari Sarkisian Q&A
Friends of The House: Ari Sarkisian Q&A
Arenae Sarkisian, who the WOM family calls “Ari,” is an experienced art specialist with interest in Contemporary Art. She currently works at a blue-chip gallery in Chelsea and is skilled in Auction House functions, and Art Advisory. She has worked at Christie’s in the Old Master paintings department, at Sotheby’s in Impressionist & Modern Art, and at Art Agency Partners in the Artist Estates and Foundations department.
Ari has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Art History, and Media, Culture & Communications from New York University.
WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?
I have the special honor to work directly with pioneers of the contemporary art world, and with the artists that helped shape New York as the center of the global art market. Paula Cooper represents artists such as Carl Andre, Tauba Auerbach, Cecily Brown, Mark Di Suvero, Hans Haacke, and Sol LeWitt. We have recently announced taking on Ja’Tovia Gary, who’s an artist that explores race, gender, and violence through documentary films and video art. Having the opportunity to realize the vision of the artist, is something the directors take extremely seriously, which is why the gallery is well-renowned for its strong academic programming. Museum curators, foundations, and artists estates refer to the gallery for information on how works should be installed or how the artist intended the work to be displayed because of the legacy and history of the gallery and our archives.
Previous to my experience at Paula Cooper Gallery, I was at Art Agency Partners, a subsidiary company of Sotheby’s. I was working in the Artist Estates and Foundations department which aimed to service artists with Legacy Planning. This would include establishing an archive and estate plan, confirming future museum exhibitions, and management of the artist’s collection (donations/consignments to galleries or auction houses). This was my first experience working directly with artists. I began to understand the way they work and think, and it was part of the service I provided to get them to understand the business side of things. It’s important to contextualize things because artists can be very sentimental and attached to their work. Thinking about how things will be when they are no longer is a challenging mentality to embrace. So this is a touchy line of art advisory, but nevertheless, an important step to secure a legacy in-line with the artist and his/her work. I was inspired by my colleagues at AAP, who truly helped define a new aspect of the art advising – advising the artist, not the collector.
DO YOU THINK LIVING IN NYC PLAYED A CRITICAL ROLE IN FURTHERING YOUR CAREER IN THE ARTS?
The short answer is “yes.” American artists of the 20th century have dominated the market and continue to do so today. European and Asian collectors visit during the fairs and auction week to also check out gallery shows, and if they are familiar enough, to go to some artist studios to see new material. NY has the most engaged collecting community in the world. It’s hard to imagine living anywhere else.
FAVORITE SPOT IN NYC TO GRAB A BITE TO EAT?
For a casual weekend lunch – nothing is better than an outside table at Via Carota in West Village (although they have scaffolding up now…)
For something more upscale or “scene-y”, I’m never disappointed by Indochine – even though it’s much more of a fashion crowd. The spicy steak salad is my favorite!
I’m not much of an authority on music, but for the sake of WOM and my appreciation for quality systems, I will admit that telepopmusik’s Genetic World opened my eyes (or ears?) to the world of electronica. I especially love their music video for “Breathe” which reminds of Tom Wesselmann’s paintings.
I’m also moved by Moby- his melody and lyrics. I was studying architecture in Paris when I was in high school and would listen to his 1999 album together with his work from the early 2000’s on a loop. I had discovered his music then, so I was trying to absorb it all.
HOW IS TECHNOLOGY IMPACTING THE TRADITIONS OF THE ART WORLD?
Providing access to [purchase] lower value works to the every-day person! Bravo to Artsy/Paddle8/Artnet who are educating the public through online auctions/details of auction results and information on the market. Also, systems like ArtBase and ArtBinder are helping institutions, companies, and collectors track their inventory and digitize their archives. Even Catalogue Raisonnées are being digitized and some are even available online for free – which is an extraordinary help for researchers.
Technology (and social media) is opening the conversation about art to a wider net of people. Anyone with interest has access to information and news about what’s happening in the art world.